Santa Fe (dpa) – Many questions are still unanswered after the death of a camerawoman while shooting a film with Hollywood star Alec Baldwin. Now there could be the first answers.
On Wednesday (local time), the authorities in Santa Fe, New Mexico, want to publicly comment on the ongoing investigation in a press conference for the first time. The responsible district attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies said in advance in an interview with the “New York Times” that prosecution was possible in the case.
“We haven’t ruled out anything yet,” Carmack-Altwies was quoted as saying by the newspaper. “At this point everything, including criminal charges, is on the table.” The focus is currently on ballistic studies to clarify what type of ammunition was used and how it got into the weapon.
In the incident during the filming of the western “Rust” on a film ranch in New Mexico, the 42-year-old head camerawoman Halyna Hutchins was fatally injured. Leading actor Baldwin (63) had fired the gun during the rehearsal for a scene. According to a police report, the assistant director had told the actor when he handed over the pistol that it was a “cold weapon” without ammunition. According to his own statement, the assistant did not know that there was a cartridge in the weapon.
Director Joel Souza (48) was injured in the shoulder in the incident, but was able to leave the hospital a little later. Souza was behind the camerawoman at the time of the fatal incident. Filming for the western has been suspended.
Carmack-Altwies said the investigation could take weeks or months before a possible charge could arise. There were “large amounts” of ammunition on the set, said the prosecutor of the “New York Times”. According to the police, three revolvers, used cartridges and ammunition were found in boxes, loose and in a belt pouch during the search of the filming location.
Earlier allegations against assistant director
The assistant director who handed over the gun to Baldwin was dismissed in 2019 because of a similar incident in a film, reported numerous US media. During the shooting of “Freedom’s Path” a sound technician was slightly injured after a prop gun went off unexpectedly, it said, citing the production company of the film.
According to media reports, criticism was also raised against the 24-year-old weapons master, who was responsible for the proper handling of all weapons on the set. “Rust” was only the second film in which she was involved in this role.
Suspicions about lax security were also supported by a report on the news site “The Wrap” that some crew members allegedly used live ammunition in their spare time to shoot beer cans. The sources were not named. Accordingly, such a target shooting would have taken place in the morning, a few hours before the fatal incident on the set, said “The Wrap” journalist Sharon Waxman the broadcaster CNN. One of these weapons was later passed on to Baldwin on the set.
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